Sunday, December 22, 2013

Applegate Peak Redux

There's probably no other sport more dependent on mother nature than skiing. For weeks now, the Pacific Northwest has been sitting under a high pressure ridge, which has been steering storms well to the north.  Here in southern Oregon, we're about to close what will likely be the driest year on record (Medford has received 8.99 inches of precipitation in 2013, less than half the annual average of 18.05 inches). Area snowpack is near all-time lows.

While we wait for winter (and precipitation), we go where the snow is. Crater Lake is the only place within a couple hours that we know has skiable snow, so David, Lucy, and I made our way back to Applegate Peak the Sunday before Christmas. What we found were some very challenging conditions, including a half-inch, breakable rain crust, making for a dicey descent. With every turn, we broke through the crust into the softer snow below. Before long, we had skinned up for the descent, just to help us manage our speed on the crust (since turning wasn't really an option).

Despite the challenging conditions, it was still Crater Lake. Pics below:

David and Lucy on Rim Drive

Crossing the meadows toward Applegate Peak

Lucy crossing the meadows

Mount Scott at top right, Dutton Cliffs below, and Phantom Ship poking out of the lake

Mount Scott

Mount Thielsen to the north

Applegate Peak summit

Phantom Ship Island, despite it's small appearance, is 500 feet long and rises 170 feet above the lake

Mount McLoughlin above the inversion fog

Lucy gearing up for the descent 

Sunset at Crater Lake

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